The defense finished 7th in yards/game and 9th in points/game, which is good but still not great especially considering how many yards and points we gave up to lousy teams in the second half. Also, getting destroyed by Baltimore like we did in the last game brings this ranking into question. Was this a product of good defense or the fact we played a 4th-place schedule along with a week group of opponents from the AFC South and NFC West? But we were 5th in sacks and 6th in forced fumbles, but only 26th in interceptions. Losing Leon Hall certainly didn't help, but I'd almost argue losing J-Joe was the bigger deal here especially considering we had the cap room to keep him. Overall the team as +1 in the Take-Away / Give-Away category.
On offense, we finished 20th in yards/game and 18th in points/game. Looking further, the team was very balanced: 19th in rushing and 20th in passing. A.J. Green had a terrific rookie season, but it bears to mention that he only finished 17th the league in yards (just 24 yards ahead of Nate Washington!). Benson again gained 1000 yds for the season but he ranked only 16th yds/game and was the only 1000+ yard back to average less than 4 yds/carry. The team could certainly stand to upgrade here. The offensive line did a solid job pass-protecting - allowing only 25 sacks (tied-4th best) - but had a poor overall rating according to Football Outsiders and an average rating from PFF. With our top 3 OG's scheduled to be free agents in 2012, I would expect this group to get some attention in both free agency and the draft.
Special teams play was quite good: 7th in punt returns, 13th in net punting and 8th in field goal percentage. Nugent is a free agent but I would think resigning would be his preference - assuming the money is right. Tate was an upgrade in the return game over Quan Cosby (and cheaper) but it would be great next year to have more CB depth to allow Adam Jones more opportunities as a returner. He had only 2 returns this year but averaged 33.5 yards.
Looking ahead to 2012, we face the AFC West (DEN & OAK at home, KC & SD on the road), NFC East (DAL & NYG at home, PHI & WAS on the road) along with the 3rd place teams from the AFC East (MIA at home) and AFC South (JAC on the road). We avoid the truly elite teams again (GB, NO, NE) but still face tough divisional opponents in PIT & BAL. So if the team can finally build upon their own success for once, next year promises to again be a good season.