Sydney somehow found a way, capitalising on crucial Western Bulldogs' errors for a pulsating seven-point AFL win.
Oliver Florent bounced through a goal with just over a minute left in Saturday's twilight match at Etihad Stadium for the Swans to win 13.8 (86) to 11.13 (79).
Coach John Longmire said he would rather the Sydney youngster had stopped and held up play when Florent took his mark, instead of playing on and risking a crucial turnover.
"Sometimes, it's great as a young bloke, isn't it? You don't have any fear," Longmire said.
"That's what's good about him - I just spoke to him then and it's, 'what's the problem? I went back and kicked it'."
The Bulldogs dominated the statistics, including 60 to 42 inside 50s, and Swans captain Josh Kennedy only had 15 possessions.
Yet the Swans won.
Regardless of how it happened, the Swans banked their second road win in the opening month and are 3-1.
It is in stark contrast to last year's nightmare 0-6 start.
"Sometimes, you just have to find a way and, to our players' credit, they found a way," Longmire said.
A handful of critical free kicks close to goal at either end also went Sydney's way, but Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge would not buy into that topic.
Instead, he was left lamenting their lack of composure at some key moments.
"It's always should have, could have, would have - there were some encouraging things there; we fought our way back when the Swans had momentum," Beveridge said.
"But we lacked polish in the end."
The Bulldogs led by 22 points early in the second term, with captain Easton Wood playing a superb game on in-form Swans star Lance Franklin.
Sydney fans' hearts were also in their mouths during the second term when Franklin hurt his shoulder, although he recovered quickly.
But a crucial goal to Isaac Heeney on halftime cut the margin to 10 points.
That was part of a six-goal run either side of the long break that gave Sydney the lead, with Franklin capitalising on two Bulldogs' turnovers to kick his first two goals.
The Bulldogs then rallied and scores were level at the last break, only for Sydney to kick clear with two goals.
Again, the Dogs pressed and they only trailed by six points late in the game when Josh Dunkley dropped a simple mark in front of goal.
That capped a frustrating night when he did plenty of good work, but only managed 0.4.
Moments later, Florent kicked the sealer.
While Wood did a great job, Franklin was the difference with 3.4 and Swans midfielder Luke Parker starred.
Bulldogs onballer Jack Macrae was best afield with 34 disposals.
Earlier on Saturday, star Bulldogs forward Tom Boyd took a big step towards his long-awaited senior recall with five goals in the VFL.