Hughton said: "He has done ever so well, big Andy Carroll. He was out for a period of time and had only had two days' training with the team before the Blackpool game.
"He got stronger and better as the game went on and as well as scoring a goal, he could have perhaps added another one to it."
The victory was never as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, and although the Magpies might have won even more comfortably - Carroll headed just over moments before he scored and then hit the bar at the death - the result was in doubt until the final few minutes of the game.
Having taken the lead through Steven Taylor's header with just six minutes gone, Newcastle came close to extending it on several occasions, but then inexplicably took their foot of the gas and were very nearly made to pay.
Taylor had already diverted a Jamie Mackie cross against his own post and Karl Duguid punished the home side's carelessness with a 50th-minute equaliser.
Hughton's response was to withdraw Joey Barton and Peter Lovenkrands, and it was one of the replacements, Danny Guthrie, who delivered the 61st-minute cross from which Kevin Nolan headed his side back in front.
Carroll made sure six minutes from time with an emphatic finish, but there was as much relief as joy around St James' Park when the whistle sounded.
Hughton said: "There were periods of the game where we made hard work of it.
"For whatever reason, we weren't able to sustain it and of course the longer the game goes without getting that second one, they [Plymouth] are lifted by the occasion and feel they can get something."
Argyle boss Paul Sturrock, whose side prop up the table and are still without a win eight games into the season, said: "I have had two draws and six defeats and I am human.
"At the end of the day, there's only so far a board can wait for me to turn it around.
"But they have been very committed to the cause. They see there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we have got to turn it soon.
"Pressure? I have had 35 years in the game and at the end of the day, I am like anybody else.
"But I want the right thing for Plymouth Argyle and we are attempting to do the right thing. I am very, very confident that these players will turn it around."