"I'm hoping to turn this day around in my mind and get what I can from it that will help me next year," Peterson said. "That will take a little time. I think that most of us expected to move on and go against Seattle next week so this is a huge disappointment. It makes things easier to think about how far we have come this year. We were picked to finish dead last in the league. Instead we won our division and have something we can build on for next season."
When it comes to next season, Peterson hopes to solidify his position as a top reserve, a goal that might be made more difficult as Cedric Benson becomes more familiar with the pro game.
"I know we have a lot of good players," Peterson said. "That is what tends to happen with playoff quality teams. But I feel that I have shown what I can do and I plan to get even better during the off-season. I am more than ready to compete for my spot. I love to play and the more time I get on the field the better."
FB Jason McKie had just one carry in the game, but it resulted in a 3-yard touchdown run that got the game to 23-21 early in the fourth quarter.
McKie took little joy in reaching the end zone because of the end result.
"Not at all, I'd trade that for a win any day," McKie said. "We needed a touchdown.
"It may have caught them off guard. When they call your number you've got to make a play.
Rashied Davis had hoped that his first appearance in an NFL postseason game would have given him the opportunity to make big plays and contribute to a Bears victory. Instead, Davis, who had 5 kickoff returns for 115 yards, and despite consistently giving the offense the ball past the 30-yard line, he was left with the feeling that he could have done more.
"I thought this would be my chance," Davis said. "I planned all last week how I'd get the ball and take it to the house. I just couldn't get it done and that's a great disappointment. I'll go back home and think about what happened. I plan to be back a stronger and a better player by mini-camp this spring."
Although the Bears had two weeks to prepare for the playoffs, Davis and his teammates felt the would be would more effective against Carolina, but the results didn't measure up to expectations.
"I don't know if it was having so much time off that we got rusty, or overconfident," Davis said. "All I know is that it was one of those days when the other team seems to get all the breaks. That's frustrating as there isn't much you can do about it."