The Steelers have been one of the most surprising teams of the season, not always for positive reasons. Looking back to predictions made in the preseason by bloggers, pundits, fans, and players themselves, what has come as a surprise?
1) Quarterback Landry Jones played in a regular season NFL game and was awesome. There has already been a lot of news on his strong, game-saving performance, but a big aspect of this story is the surprise factor. Based on his performance during his first two seasons and the preseason, not many people knew that Landry Jones had it in him to play that well.
2) The team has been decimated by injury. Major injuries so far? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey, and offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum are all sidelined. That is just a partial list. Linebacker Ryan Shazier is also hurt, as is Jarvis Jones. While Shazier and Jones have struggled with injury before, the sheer number of injuries has been a bad surprise.
3) Antonio Brown has had three weeks in a row with fewer than 50 yards. With Roethlisberger sidelined, it makes sense that Brown has had three low-yardage games in a row. Still, that is not something anyone would have predicted going into this season. (Probably because that prediction would have involved predicting that Big Ben would fall to injury, and nobody wants to jinx a team like that).
4) The defense is ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed. Wow. It is safe to say that they are performing much better than expected. Most preseason speculation focused on the defense. After a rocky start, they have stepped up and carried the team through several games when the offense underperformed. While they aren't perfect, the Steelers defense is performing admirably well, making big plays when it counts
5) The Steelers found Chris Boswell, their fourth kicker of the season. When Shaun Suisham suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason, the Steelers acquired Garrett Hartley. He too fell to an injury. Then, the Steelers found Josh Scobee. Who knew a kicker could cause so much stress, frustration, and anger. Finally the Steelers have settled on Chris Boswell, who has performed perfectly in the two games he has started for the team. Definitely an unexpected turn of events.