FB Lorenzo Neal (Donald Miralle/Getty)
The Chargers are 5-5 but all is not lost. All together now Chargers: "Thank God for the AFC West!" To a degree, some of the Chargers tried to put out a good spin Monday, one day after the Chargers fell to the .500 mark.
It doesn't matter what their record, some said, if they finish the season in first. Hey, it beats being .500 and miles off the pace.
"I think your mindset is you just want to get in because you always feel like anything can happen and that is certainly the way you have to feel now, being 5-5," LaDainian Tomlinson said.
"Knowing you are struggling right now to put wins together, consecutive wins. So yeah, you just want to get in."
The Chargers were always fairly confident they would reach the playoffs, but not in this fashion. The team has only one triumph over a winning team and is little more than road kill away from Qualcomm Stadium, where it has a 1-4 mark.
The latest road pratfall came in Jacksonville on Sunday, a 24-17 verdict to the Jaguars.
The sand in the 2007 hourglass is going pretty fast. If the Chargers want to hit -- let alone make -- the playoffs, they don't want to go in staggering.
"Yeah, I think time is running out because we have six games left and the season is getting short," Tomlinson said. "So yeah, time is definitely running out."
Fullback Lorenzo Neal said the Chargers' status could be worse.
"We are still in first place," he said. "Go be the Raiders? How do you think those guys are feeling over there? Cincinnati -- teams that don't have a chance.
"Is it pretty, no. Is it ugly, yes. Do you wish it was better? Of course. We all do. But it's not.
"But until we as players actively take a hold of this and do something about it, then we will continue to struggle."
The Chargers could get right Sunday against the visiting Ravens. But there are no longer any easy games for a team that was so good last year and so average this year.
"We were 14-2 and people expected us to be the same or better this year and it's different,' Tomlinson said. "It's a different team and we are .500."
--Pro Bowl LB Shawne Merriman said the Chargers' attitude isn't right about being at .500 with six games remaining. "First of all, you've got to hate to lose," Merriman said. "You've got to hate to lose, man. This is not a good feeling."
Don't all the Chargers hate to lose? "No, no, no, no, not right now," Merriman said. "Not yet. No."
--The offense is still having trouble establishing a running attack, collecting but 79 yards on the ground. It was the third consecutive game the Chargers failed to reach 100 rushing yards and the sixth overall. LaDainian Tomlinson had 62 yards on 16 carries. And next up are the Ravens, with the NFL's No. 3 run defense.
--Despite two fourth-quarter interceptions that killed the Chargers' rally, QB Philip Rivers said the passing game showed some growth. "I thought we grew a little bit," Rivers said, "but it's hard to appreciate it when you lose."
Rivers completed 22 of 40 passes for 309 yards -- eight more than he had collected in his previous two games combined.
--Last year en route to a 14-2 record, the Chargers were 6-2 on the road. This year, they are 1-4.
--In five halves this season, the Chargers have been held scoreless. And in two other halves, they have but three points.
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--S Eric Weddle (knee) is expected to practice Wednesday after sitting out Sunday's game.
--CB Quentin Jammer's ailing hamstring held up in spot play on Sunday and he should be good for this Sunday.
--LG Kris Dielman has a nasty knee bruise but he is shrugging it off and will go Sunday.
--C Nick Hardwick (foot) did some individual work on Monday and could be eased into practice time this week. But it still appears he is at least two weeks away from playing.
--Backup RB Michael Turner didn't get a single carry for the second straight week. He has one rushing attempt in his last three games.
--WR Chris Chambers had his best game as a Charger, catching four passes for 93 yards.
--OLB Shawne Merriman was held without a sack for the fourth straight game and for the fifth time in the last six games.
--Rookie WR Buster Davis had three receptions for 39 yards. It was the first time he had more than two catches in a game since Sept. 23, when he had four against the Packers.
--DE Luis Castillo (ankle) will miss the next four weeks.