LANDOVER, Md. -- Triumphant yet modest, the 49ers reached the halfway point of an astounding regular season Sunday.

They didn't celebrate a 19-11 victory over the host Washington Redskins by raving about its intoxicating implications.

So what if their 7-1 start and six-game win streak are their best since 1997?

What's the big deal about winning their first four road games, even if they all came in the once-menacing Eastern time zone?

Who cares that they lead the NFC West by five games and can clinch the division as soon as two weeks?

"Like every season, when you're in it, you keep your head down and keep going," defensive lineman Justin Smith said. "Whenever you have end-of-season physicals, you look back on what you did. I'm not getting too caught up in it at all, and I don't think anybody in here is."

Their NFC West counterparts can't be too pleased, however. When the Seattle Seahawks (2-6) lost to the Dallas Cowboys 23-13, it assured the 49ers a five-game lead in a division they haven't won since 2002 .

"We're not worrying about any other team in the NFL," running back Frank Gore. "We're just trying to take care of what the 49ers come to do on Sundays, and that's get wins."

Player after player offered a short-term outlook.

But perhaps no one better than wide receiver Braylon Edwards can comprehend the 49ers' storybook status. Edwards played last season on a New York Jets team that started out 9-2.


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"With the Jets, we already were at our potential, we already had reached our peak," Edwards said. "If (the Jets) lost a game, it was, 'OK, we didn't come to play, or we got outplayed, or we got outcoached.' We're in a position now at 7-1 where we haven't begun to touch the surface of what we can do."

Edwards thinks the 49ers can become "unstoppable" once their offense evolves.

Like so many of their past wins, Sunday's could be credited to an increasingly feisty defense and a sure-fire special-teams unit. Playing lead roles were linebacker Patrick Willis (13 tackles, two forced fumbles) and kicker David Akers, who made all four of his field goal attempts.

"What makes us the defense we are is that we have a bunch of unselfish guys on defense," Willis said.

The overmatched Redskins made the score respectable thanks to a touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:10 remaining. That touchdown came on a 9-yard pass from John Beck to Jabar Gaffney, meaning the 49ers are the only team that has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season.

The 49ers offense constantly stalled, including a couple times because of penalties that coach Jim Harbaugh questioned, such as a shift by tight end Justin Peelle that drew a false-start penalty at the Redskins 11.

Rookie fullback Bruce Miller did score his first career touchdown -- and first since high school in 2005 -- as Alex Smith dropped a 30-yard touchdown pass into Miller's hands for a 13-0 lead 1:03 before halftime.

"The ball was thrown up to him, he just ran under it, caught it and then put it in the end zone," Harbaugh said. "Just really good for a rookie. Also, Alex made a heckuva throw in there."

Smith finished 17 for 24 for 200 yards and a 109.7 passer rating. For the fifth game this season, he did not commit a turnover and remarkably maintained possession of the ball when he got sacked by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on the 49ers' opening series.

The Redskins' Beck made his third straight start in place of Rex Grossman and often was wild, completing 30 of 47 passes for 254 yards.

Running back Roy Helu, a San Ramon Valley High-Danville product, set a Redskins record with 14 receptions (for 105 yards). He rushed 10 times for 41 yards, marking the 30th consecutive game the 49ers' have not allowed a 100-yard rusher.

"We're playing good football. That's it. I don't think there's any magic," Alex Smith said. "There's no secret. The defense is playing great. Special teams is playing great. (We) got off to a slow start today on offense but picked it up there."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers.