2. LaDainian Tomlinson is finally healthy, which is more than you can say for San Diego's running game. When Tomlinson carried 19 times for 105 yards against the New Orleans Saints just before the bye week, the assumption was the extra week of rest would help him finish the season strong. Instead, he's averaged 3.5 and 3.2 yards per carry over the last two games, respectively, and failed to reach even 80 yards rushing in either outing.
OT Jeromey Clary
4. Chris Chambers' lingering ankle injury has derailed what looked to be a spectacular season. Chambers scored five TDs in the season's first five games before getting injured. He returned to action the game before the bye week with a five-catch performance, but has only three grabs for 21 yards in the two games since. Chambers' injury, combined with Buster Davis' inability to stay on the field, have zapped the punch from a passing game that netted just 152 yards against the Steelers.
5. A sad indictment on Luis Castillo's season: Jacques Cesaire had more sacks against the Steelers (two) than Castillo has all season (1.5). That's a precipitous drop-off for a player who had seven sacks in just 10 games in 2006. Castillo is one of San Diego's most active linemen, but he's struggled to disengage from his blocks this season. He's gone six consecutive games without a sack.
LB Shaun Phillips
7. A glut of specialists has caused a logjam at the inside linebacker position. Tim Dobbins is the run-stuffer in the base defense; Matt Wilhelm is the nickel linebacker; and Brandon Siler is the goal-line stopper. The team needs another Stephen Cooper, someone capable of making plays regardless of down or distance. Anthony Waters, who was active on Sunday for just the third time this season, is the only in-house candidate to fill that role.
8. Perhaps GM A.J. Smith is a little too proactive when doling out contract extensions. The notion was brought up last offseason, when the Chargers released OT Shane Olivea less than two years after signing him to a six-year extension. Now, the Bolts will have to make a decision on Clinton Hart, who signed a five-year extension in April. Hart has suffered through an awful season, missing too many tackles and failing to secure a single interception. Hart intercepted a career-high five passes last season before being awarded a new deal averaging $3 million per season.
9. Call it the jinx of the Pick King. When DB Charlie McNeal set a Chargers record with nine interceptions in 1961, he recorded eight less picks the following season. Antonio Cromartie broke McNeil's record with a 10-interception season in 2007, yet is eight picks behind that mark in 2008. The way Cromartie has played this year makes it difficult to envision him adding to that total.
10. If the Chargers eke into the playoffs, Coach Norv Turner will hold his breath every time Nate Kaeding kicks the ball. It's difficult to recall such an accurate place kicker (85 percent career conversion rate) who inspired so little confidence. Kaeding has a knack for saving his misses for the times the Chargers can least afford them.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.