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Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh congratulates running back Frank Gore (21) after he scored a touchdown in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in San Francisco, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.

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.