SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Joe Staley relished his shining moment after the offensive lineman caught a 17-yard pass for a first down and celebrated madly. Nose tackle and part-time fullback Isaac Sopoaga got into the action with an 18-yard reception.
The San Francisco 49ers know they're going well when the big boys are catching balls. They know things are right when a flat second half still leads to a 10-point victory. And, when, before October is over, the team already holds a commanding four-game lead in the NFC West.
And the way they have set themselves up, Jim Harbaugh's 49ers (6-1) could clinch their division and the franchise's first playoff berth in nine years before that highly anticipated matchup with the coach's big brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving.