Iceberg Ahead!

It started out as the good ship lollipop, headed straight for Super Bowl XLII. But somewhere during the season the Chargers encountered rough seas. It's obvious by the team's 5-5 mark, although it is good enough for a share of the AFC West lead.

But are they an elite team? Not quite, with one victory over a winning squad this year and that only came when Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal.

Instead, the Chargers are flat average. And if things don't change, they might dust off that tag of a few years ago: best team not to make the playoffs.

"It's like a ship heading toward an iceberg," fullback Lorenzo Neal said. "We got to get this rudder fixed. We have everything going our way, we just have to fix this rudder and steer away from this iceberg and get into clear waters and open this thing up again."

What's opening up is the clear frustration which is running through the locker room. Two Pro Bowlers, linebacker Shawne Merriman and running back LaDainian Tomlinson, questioned their teammates' commitments in the aftermath of the Jaguars' Sunday win over the Chargers.

Neal said that while some want to blame new head coach Norv Turner, what really needs to be done is for the players to look in the mirror.

"A lot of these guys haven't been in this situation, been pushed each week by the media, adversity," Neal said. "What we've got to say is 'Look guys, the window of opportunity is small and we got to get rolling.'"

The Chargers enter their final six games tied with the hard-charging Broncos. While the Chargers seem to be going backward, the Broncos have won two straight and are getting solid play from quarterback Jay Cutler.

"No matter what it is going on, we have to find a way to reach down inside ourselves and hold ourselves accountable and get better," Neal said. "No matter what play is called, what is going on, we as players have to collectively come together and say, 'this is our team, quit living off last year and just come together as men and say enough is enough and stop the bleeding and let's get this thing rolling.'

"It's easier said than done and we have to go out and do it. And until it happens we will continue to have these conservations until we keep saying we still have a chance. Then at the end of the season we will say the chance is gone."


--QB Philip Rivers throws for over 300 yards and a score, showing some signs that he has got out of his funk. Then the fourth-quarter arrives and he coughs up two interceptions. Rivers now leads the NFL in turnovers, with 12 interceptions and five lost fumbles.

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson remains frustrated by the team not running the ball more. He carried it but 16 times for 62 yards and a score. He did add 93 yards through the air on five receptions. So he's getting his touches, but he wants more -- especially on run plays to the outside.

--TE Antonio Gates' role is growing by the week -- why the offense went away from him remains a mystery. He had four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.

--WR Chris Chambers had his best day as a Charger with four catches for 93 yards. That included a long of 44 yards. He looked pretty good and should be a bigger target down the stretch if the pass-blocking can hold up for the downfield routes.

--WR Vincent Jackson is turning into just a guy, and not the receiver the Chargers envisioned when they burnt a second-round pick on him. He had another drop and finished with only one catch for 20 yards.

--FB Lorenzo Neal used to be the team's secret weapon on short-yardage plays, but that secret is out. He was stuffed twice on his two carries, collecting but one yard.

--WR Craig Davis finally showed some production after having a tough time getting on the field of late. He had three catches for 39 yards, including a long of 16.

--WR Legedu Naanee had been on the fast track, then he ran the wrong route at the wrong time and got a rare earful from coach Norv Turner. He did catch three passes for 10 yards.

--DT Jamal Williams was pretty stout in the middle as he gets more flexibility out of his knees which were cleaned out during the bye. He had three tackles.

--CB Antonio Cromartie still has to work to do in his coverage skills as he was burned for a touchdown while subbing for starter Quentin Jammer. He didn't even have a tackle.

--CB Quentin Jammer only played a handful of plays as the team was worried he would aggravate his hamstring injury. But he got out of the game OK and should start this week. The Chargers need his help in run support.

--OLB Shaun Phillips had a game-high 10 tackles and the Jaguars consistently ran away from Shawne Merriman's side and toward Phillips.

--OLB Shawne Merriman had but one tackle and was blown up by Maurice Jones-Drew when coming toward the pocket on a touchdown pass. Merriman has now gone four straight games without a sack and five of six without one.

--ILB Stephen Cooper had only three tackles, which is too few for an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

--DE Jacques Cesaire wasn't able to start in place of Luis Castillo because of a toe injury. But much like Jammer, he didn't aggravate the injury and should start this week. Cesaire had two tackles.

--KR/PR Darren Sproles didn't do much in the return game and was inserted into the regular offense with about the same results. He had two receptions for no yards as the team tried to get him the ball out in space and it didn't work.

--P Mike Scifres had half of his four punts downed inside the Jacksonville 20. He also had a long of 63 yards as he continues his fine punting of late.

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