Interim coach Stuart Lancaster said he was "relieved but proud" after England hit back from 15-6 down to beat Italy.
Charlie Hodgson's try and Owen Farrell's boot saw them home in the Six Nations encounter in snowy Rome.
"We talked at half-time about playing a bit off first receiver rather than just off nine, and having the courage to play," Lancaster told BBC Sport.
"We played with a bit more width, which was difficult in the conditions, but it was the right way to go."
Two tries just before half-time, from Giovanbattista Venditti and Tommaso Benvenuti, both from English errors, saw Italy take a 12-6 half-time lead at the Stadio Olimpico.
"We put ourselves in a position in the first 20 [minutes], we started well, then we had a mad five minutes and came in down at half-time," said Lancaster.
"The most pleasing thing from that point of view was there was no sense of panic.
"I thought Italy played extremely well and put us under a lot of pressure. They were very difficult conditions to play in.''
Hodgson inspired the fightback by scoring his second charge-down try in as many weeks.
"We knew we had to keep our composure," Hodgson told BBC Sport. "The first half I felt we dominated and they had a lucky try and that got them away.
"But we didn't lose our heads and came good in the end. To come back and be successful shows what resolve we have."
Farrell's contribution was also important, the 20-year-old kicking four penalties and a conversion as England avoided a first ever defeat by Italy.
Asked what Lancaster's message had been at half-time, when his side trailed 12-6, Farrell said: "I think it was just to keep doing what we're doing, we don't have to chase anything.
"I felt we were still on top in the first half and credit to the boys, we dug in."
Italy captain Sergio Parisse, named man of the match, admitted there was deep disappointment in the home dressing room.
"It annoys me to lose to a poor England side," he said. "We had the chances today to beat England as they weren't at their best.
"We had a big chance, but now we have to move on and prepare for the next two away matches.
"I'm convinced that we're on a good path and going forward."