In the Seattle Seahawks' history, they've never had consecutive 10-win regular seasons until now under Pete Carroll.
"I feel like we've accomplished a lot to get to this point in some regards and in other regards we haven't done anything yet," Carroll said Monday.
The Seahawks reached double-digit victories for the second straight season on Sunday with a 41-20 drubbing of Minnesota. The Seahawks improved to 10-1 and head into their bye week with the best record in the NFL. It's the latest point in any season in franchise history that the Seahawks have held the best record in the league by themselves.
"I think we're doing a great job, and we haven't done anything yet," quarterback Russell Wilson said after Sunday's win. "We're 10-1, that means a lot, but it doesn't mean everything. Our goal is to win the whole thing, and to do that you take one game at a time. You take one opportunity at a time, one practice at a time, and make that the best day you can possibly make it. That winning mentality can never slow down."
Wilson's words echoed Carroll's. But that attitude and approach have created a winning formula.
Knox and Holmgren both had lengthy runs of success in Seattle. Knox finally made the Seahawks a contender in the mid-1980s, leading them to their first playoff appearance and giving the franchise relevance. Holmgren raised the bar with his run in the mid-2000s that included five consecutive playoff appearances and the lone NFC championship in franchise history.
Carroll appears on the verge of upping the ante. After winning 11 regular-season games a year ago, the Seahawks go into their bye week in position for a second NFC West title and third playoff appearance since Carroll arrived.
They won't be able to clinch anything while getting a weekend off, but the Seahawks will have their chance at taking control of the race for homefield advantage in the NFC when they return.
Seattle will enter its final five-game stretch with two huge games, hosting 9-2 New Orleans on Monday, Dec. 2, before a trip to San Francisco six days later. Carroll said he left the team with a strong message to get rest but be smart with how they approached the bye.
"We've done well. We're in good shape right now. We talked about the things where were strong and what we want to add to when we come back," he said. "I think it's real important that we compete all week long."
Seattle headed into its break coming off consecutive dominant performances. Sunday's win over Minnesota featured the return of four starters including three on the offensive line and the debut of wide receiver Percy Harvin following hip surgery.
Offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini were a little rusty in their returns after being out since September with injuries.
Carroll said that showed mostly in the run game where Seattle was limited to 93 yards rushing. But the pass protection was the best it's been all season and helped Wilson throw for 230 yards and two touchdowns and have a career-high passer rating of 151.4.
Carroll said when the Seahawks return from their break, the only player on the roster that won't be able to practice is cornerback Brandon Browner, who was hurt Nov. 10 against Atlanta. Carroll said Browner's groin injury was examined again on Monday morning and that along with a pulled muscle there is some tissue damage. Carroll said at best, it would be 4-to-6 weeks before Browner is back.
Harvin also came out of Sunday's game with some soreness, to be expected after playing in his first game in more than a calendar year. But Carroll said they know Harvin is fully back and he'll be thrown into the regular rotation with the rest of the wide receivers when the team returns.
Harvin ended up playing 19 offensive plays 36.5 percent of Seattle's offensive snaps according to the NFL's official participation stats released on Monday, along with his 58-yard kickoff return late in the first half.
"He'll benefit from the break as well," Carroll said. "When we come back, if everything goes as we hope, he'll be right back in the mix and he'll be in normal rotation and returning kicks and the whole thing."