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Friday morning one-liners

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas Reuters

Bills QB Tarvaris Jackson says it has been a frustrating season.

The Dolphins credit a spirited practice last week with getting the running game going.

Patriots DT Vince Wilfork said that the team plans to keep getting better as the year unfolds.

Said Jets coach Rex Ryan, “It’s a lot of different things but certainly you have to give opponents credit doing a good job keeping you off the passer, but the sack number is alarming, we’ve only had 17 so obviously that’s not anywhere close to where we want to be.”

Ravens S James Ihedigbo says that beating the Steelers once in a season doesn’t mean “jack.”

Trevor Robinson has gone from undrafted rookie guard to starting Bengals center this year.

Browns K Phil Dawson has continued to perform at a high level this season.

According to Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, RB Jonathan Dwyer has to prove that he can handle the starting job.

Injuries have forced the Texans to cycle through plenty of linebackers this year.

How will the Colts try to cover Calvin Johnson on Sunday?

Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny faces the Bills this weekend for the first time since leaving as a free agent.

Kamerion Wimbley seems to have settled into his defensive end role with the Titans.

Champ Bailey looks forward to guarding Vincent Jackson again as the Broncos face the Buccaneers.

Chiefs QB Brady Quinn apologized for the shabby condition of the mustache he grew as part of a prostate cancer awareness effort this month.

Monte Poole of the Bay Area News Group writes that the Raiders tried everything they could to make it work with LB Rolando McClain.

P Mike Scifres is having one of the best years of anyone on the Chargers.

Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News thinks WR Miles Austin’s contract is an albatross around the neck of the Cowboys.

Giants WR Hakeem Nicks feels like he’s close to being all the way back in form.

The Eagles aren’t a good fit for the “spoiler” role.

Said Redskins RB Alfred Morris, “I was built for this. I was made for this. It’s just the truth. I can take a lot of beating. I don’t think I’ll ever meet the rookie wall.”

The Bears will need a strong performance from WR Earl Bennett this week.

Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew is working on doing a better job of holding onto the ball.

Marv Pregulman, the Packers’ first pick in the 1944 draft, died at the age of 90.

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams calls the Packers receivers the biggest test the team will face this season.

Falcons RB Michael Turner became the franchise’s touchdown leader.

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart is having trouble with both his ankles.

A few smaller moments helped send the Saints to defeat on Thursday night.

Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman is looking forward to being on the other side of the field from Broncos QB Peyton Manning.

C Rich Ohrnberger is trying to slide into a starting role as easily as possible with the Cardinals.

The Rams will wear their 1999 uniforms for Sunday’s game with the 49ers.

49ers WR Michael Crabtree is enjoying life with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.

The Seahawks hope to recover their defensive mojo this weekend.

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49ers running out of time vs. Seattle

Marshawn Lynch, Aldon Smith AP

The 49ers are on the ropes.

A fourth field goal by the Seahawks’ Steven Hauschka gave Seattle a 19-3 lead with about 10 minutes left in regulation on Thursday night. Given the struggles of the 49ers’ offense, a 16-point deficit seems mountainous. San Francisco mustered just 115 yards on 38 plays through three quarters — an average of three yards per play.

The Seahawks began the third quarter with a field goal, though it could have been even worse for San Francisco, as an offensive pass interference penalty nullified a touchdown by wideout Paul Richardson. Seahawks tailback Marshawn Lynch made the drive’s key play, breaking a 33-yard rush.

The 49ers then got a field goal of their own, but it took 12 plays and nearly seven minutes to do so, not to mention two key penalties on Seattle, including a holding call on cornerback Richard Sherman.

Now, the 49ers need touchdowns — and fast.

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49ers struggle in first half, down two scores

Robert Turbin, Russell Wilson AP

After a first half in which they looked nothing like playoff contenders, the 49ers face a 13-0 halftime deficit vs. the Seahawks.

The 49ers’ offense had a first two quarters to forget. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled with his accuracy, hitting on just 7-of-16 passes for 55 yards. He was picked once by Richard Sherman, setting up the game’s lone touchdown, a 13-yard Robert Turbin scoring catch. San Francisco’s ground game has sputtered, too, gaining just 23 yards on 10 carries.

The 49ers have also had issues stopping the pass. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to extend the play has caused major problems for San Francisco. The Seahawks’ tailbacks and tight ends have done most of the damage in the passing game; their wideouts have just 28 of the club’s 163 receiving yards.

At 7-4, the Niners are right in the thick of the wild-card race. However, a loss Thursday night would drop them one game back in the NFC with four left to play.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m. ET: The 49ers’ woes continued to begin the third quarter, with the Seahawks adding a field goal on their first drive of the second half to go up 16-0.

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Russell Wilson giving 49ers’ defense fits in first half

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

Early in the second quarter of Thursday night’s matchup vs. Seattle, the 49ers got an object lesson in the dangers of blitzing Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

On a 3rd-and-9 play, Wilson spun away from onrushing 49ers defensive back Dontae Johnson, cut back to his right, avoided tackle attempts from Johnson and linebacker Chris Borland and flipped the ball out to tight end Tony Moeaki, who was wide open down the right sideline. Moeaki would rumble 63 yards down to the San Francisco 1, coming oh-so-close to scoring.

The 49ers would hold the Seahawks to just a field goal, with Seattle extending its lead to 10-0.

However, any momentum the Niners might have gotten from their goal-line defense was short lived. The offense again sputtered, and Wilson would lead another drive ending in a field goal, giving Seattle a 13-0 lead it holds with about four minutes left in the first half. On that drive, Wilson would again make a big play vs. the blitz, hitting tailback Robert Turbin for 34 yards after the Niners again blitzed but couldn’t get home.

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Seahawks capitalize on Sherman pick, score first vs. 49ers

Seattle Seahawks v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

The visiting Seahawks struck first in Thursday night’s pivotal matchup with San Francisco.

And one of their stars got the ball rolling.

Cornerback Richard Sherman’s interception set up Seattle in opposition territory, and the Seahawks’ offense took it from there, marching 45 yards on seven plays and tallying the game’s first points on tailback Robert Turbin’s 13-yard TD reception to take a 7-0 lead.

On the pick, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick targeted wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, but Sherman read it well and stepped in front of the throw.

Kaepernick has indicated he wouldn’t avoid Sherman, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl cornerback. And indeed, he tried Sherman early on Thursday.

Score one for Sherman. And put a seven next to Seattle on the scoreboard.

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Michael Crabtree suffers injured ribs, returns to game

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The 49ers got an injury scare in the opening minute of Thursday night’s game at Seattle, but it appears it was just a scare.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was shaken up on the game’s second play, clutching at his chest and grabbing at left knee after being tackled on a five-yard reception. Though the club termed his return as questionable with injured ribs, Crabtree was soon back on the field.

However, that’s not all for 49ers injury news. Defensive end Ray McDonald (finger) is questionable to re-enter the contest, the team said.

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Sanchez gets Thanksgiving redemption

Sanchez AP

The butt fumble has yielded to an ass kicking.

Two years ago, the career of quarterback Mark Sanchez hit a nadir when his noggin slammed into the backside of guard Brandon Moore.  The accidental blast into Moore’s hind quarters resulted in a turnover, and the term “butt fumble” was born.

Fast forward to November 2014, where Sanchez has authored a stirring victory over the Cowboys in their own building.  The 33-10 final score — the second-worst Dallas loss on Thanksgiving — suggests that a significant gap exists between the two teams vying for supremacy in the NFC East.  It also will make some wonder whether that 8-3 start by Dallas will inevitably disintegrate into another Auld Lang Syne of 8-8.

For the day, Sanchez threw for under 300 yards for the first time while playing for the Eagles.  He had a career-high 202 yards in the first half, but the Eagles didn’t need him to throw much in the second two quarters, with the defense stifling the Dallas offense and running back LeSean McCoy moving the chains.

With the Seahawks and Cowboys due to visit Philly in the next two weeks and Nick Foles‘ collarbone possibly taking longer than 6-8 weeks to heal, it could be that Sanchez will remain the starter for the rest of the regular season and beyond, with the former Jet whose prospects nose dived after back to back AFC title-game appearances getting a chance to take the Eagles to the NFC championship, and possibly beyond.

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Amid rampant rumors and reports, 49ers front office silent about Harbaugh

Harbaugh Getty Images

As the 49ers move closer to the end of the 2014 season, the sense that coach Jim Harbaugh will be leaving the franchise continues to linger.

Through it all, the organization hasn’t done much to push back against the perception that Harbaugh won’t be back for 2015.  When the reports reached critical mass in early October, with some suggesting that the players wanted Jim to hit the road, Jack, owner Jed York offered up this via Twitter:  “Jim is my coach.  We are trying to win a [Super Bowl], not a personality or popularity contest.  Any more questions?”

While the quest to win a Super Bowl this year continues, with a showdown against the Seahawks starting later tonight, there has been nothing more from the organization to rebut the notion that, as soon as the season ends, the process of separating will commence.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports has reported that Harbaugh will be gone regardless of whether the team wins the Super Bowl.  Weeks later, that specific report hasn’t been rebutted or refuted by the team.

That’s caused some in the league to notice that Harbaugh hasn’t received the support he deserves in what apparently will be his final year.  Eventually, the question will be Harbaugh’s next move — which is expected to entail staying in the Bay Area or, at a minimum, on the West Coast.  It makes the Raiders (Oakland or L.A.) the most likely NFL landing spot for Harbaugh.

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With Ron Parker moving to safety, Chiefs look at cornerbacks

Lankster Getty Images

The season-ending illness to safety Eric Berry has prompted the Chiefs to move cornerback Ron Parker back to the position he maintained while Berry missed time due to an ankle injury.  Which means that the Chiefs need to beef up the depth chart not at the safety position, but at the cornerback position.

Toward that end, the Chiefs have worked out a trio of cornerbacks.  Per a league source, they’ve taken a look at Ellis Lankster (pictured), Johnny Patrick, and DeMarcus Van Dyke.

Parker’s play during Berry’s absence earned a starting cornerback job for him.  Philip Gaines, a third-round rookie from Rice, could be in line to replace Parker at starting cornerback.

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Eagles push lead to 20

McCoy AP

Barring a comeback that would become fodder for legends on par with Clint Longley and Leon Lett, the Eagles will be beating the Cowboys in their first Thanksgiving Day get-together since the Bounty Bowl in 1989.

Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles lead the Cowboys, 30-10.

Philly running back LeSean McCoy has 129 yards rushing on 17 carries, including a 38-yard run that pushing the margin to 20 points.

Down 23-7, Dallas had a chance to make things interesting after a McCoy fumble deep in the Eagles’ end of the field.  But Philly’s defense stiffened, culminating in a self-sack by Tony Romo aimed at keeping his fragile back in one piece.

There’s plenty of time left, but Dallas will have to find a way to triple its output of points in the next 20 minutes of clock time.  If that doesn’t happen, the Eagles will move to 9-3, the Cowboys will fall to 8-4, and the rematch will happen on December 14 on NBC.

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Seahawks may wait to work out new deal with Wilson

Wilson AP

After the Seahawks won the Super Bowl to cap quarterback Russell Wilson’s second NFL season, it became a given that Seattle would sign Wilson to a big-money contract as soon as he became eligible for a new deal, after the completion of the 2014 regular season.

With the Seahawks struggling (in comparison to last year) and with Wilson showing signs of regression, the Seahawks may decide to wait.

Per a league source, the team’s willingness to give Wilson a new deal will depend in large part on how the current season turns out.  Miss the playoffs or get eliminated early, and the Seahawks will be inclined to wait.  Return to the Super Bowl, and a new deal becomes more likely.

Whatever happens, the Seahawks will be sure to do that which is regarded as fair within the locker room.  They didn’t hesitate to pay cornerback Richard Sherman or safety Earl Thomas, cognizant of the importance of rewarding those who have helped contribute to the team’s success.

Wilson definitely has contributed, but the challenge becomes pegging his value if both player and team achieve a lot less than they did last year.

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Eagles take 16-point lead at halftime

Sanchez AP

It looked like it was going to be a shootout, but the Cowboys haven’t done much shooting.

At halftime in Dallas, the Eagles lead the Cowboys, 23-7.

After the Cowboys cut the lead in half, the Eagles generated a trio of field goals, while keeping the Cowboys off the board.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez has 202 yards passing, a career first-half high.  He has thrown for more than 300 yards in three straight games.

The Cowboys get the ball to start the third quarter.  Philly’s failure to turn multiple opportunities inside the 10 into touchdowns could come back to haunt the Eagles, if/when Dallas can start scoring more points — and start holding the Eagles from doing the same.

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Cowboys cut lead in half

Romo AP

A Thanksgiving shootout could be shaping up in Dallas.

Down 14-0, the Cowboys on their second drive of the game punched in a touchdown that trimmed the Philly lead in half.

The seven-play, 67-yard drive ended with a short touchdown run from running back DeMarco Murray.  The touchdown was set up by a 38-yard pass from quarterback Tony Romo to receiver Dez Bryant, who hauled in the pass despite being interfered with.  (Again.)

The Eagles lead 14-7 early in the second quarter.

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Eagles take 14-0 lead over Cowboys

Sanchez AP

For the second time in five days, the Cowboys face a double-digit deficit against an NFC East rival.

On Sunday night, they came from 11 behind to beat the Giants.  On Thursday, the Cowboys trail the Eagles by 14.

Philly scored on each of its two drives, with a 2-yard run from quarterback Mark Sanchez and a 27-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to receiver Jordan Matthews.

In between, the Eagles eventually forced a Dallas punt on a drive that ended with Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant apparently being interfered with on third down.  A flag was not thrown.

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Sanchez leads Eagles to touchdown on opening drive

Sanchez AP

In his shot at redemption for an embarrassing Thanksgiving game with the Jets two years ago, Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez engineered a touchdown drive to open the game.

Sanchez completed four of five passes for 30 yards, capping the 80-yard effort with a two-yard run on a read-option play.

Wisely, Sanchez ran where the butts weren’t.

The touchdown was upheld on replay review, and the Eagles lead, 7-0.

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Griffin addresses media, says he’s here to help the team win

Griffin Getty Images

Last week, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was focused on San Francisco.  Now, he’s focused on something other than playing.

On Thursday, Griffin met with reporters for the first time since he was supplanted by Colt McCoy.

It was Coach’s decision,” Griffin said, via Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com.  “I’m here to help this team win.”

Asked to explain his level of disappointment over the decision, Griffin repeated himself.  The same way he did last week.

“Like I said, it was Coach’s decision,” Griffin said.  “I’m here to help this team win.”

Will he use the situation as motivation?

“Be ready to play,” Griffin said.  “I’m here to help the team win anyway I can.”

He won’t be helping the team by playing, at least not for now.  We’ll have more on what the events of the past few days actually mean for Griffin later tonight.  Unless the Tryptophan wins.

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