Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears made an impression on voters for the AP Pro32 power rankings. It wasn't quite enough to overtake Denver and Seattle atop the weekly list.
After a 40-23 victory that dropped Pittsburgh to 0-3, the Bears climbed five spots to No. 3 in the rankings released Tuesday.
Cutler had just 159 yards passing compared to 406 for Ben Roethlisberger, but the Bears quarterback led a turnover-free offense while Chicago had five takeaways and two defensive touchdowns.
"Jay Cutler's offense now on a par with opportunistic Bears' defense," wrote voter John Czarnecki of Fox Sports.
Denver remained atop the poll with eight first-place votes after the Broncos beat Oakland 37-21 on Monday night. Peyton Manning set an NFL record with 12 touchdown passes through three games as the Broncos kept rolling despite missing key defensive players.
"Who needs Von Miller and Ryan Clady when Peyton Manning looks as masterful as he's ever been?" wrote Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.
San Francisco and Green Bay each dropped nine spots. The 49ers fell to 12th after a 27-7 loss to Indianapolis a week after getting blown out by NFC West rival Seattle, and the Packers (1-2) are at No. 14 following a 34-30 loss to Cincinnati.
Colin Kaepernick doesn't look like the same quarterback who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season, and running back Frank Gore reportedly had some choice words for coach Jim Harbaugh late in the loss to the Colts. Defensive end Aldon Smith is out indefinitely and headed for rehab after an arrest last week for suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession. He was arrested on similar charges in January 2012 in Miami.
"Ten points in two weeks, Aldon Smith on his way to rehab and the top running back questioning the coach!" wrote voter Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com and SiriusXM satellite radio. "The Seattle beating a week ago looks like it caused more damage than I expected."
Houston dropped seven spots to No. 11 after a 30-9 loss at defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
The Ravens at No. 8 were among four teams that jumped into the top 10. Miami went from 11th to No. 7 after a 27-23 win over Atlanta, while the Bengals jumped four spots to ninth and the Colts were up five to No. 10.
New Orleans and New England were tied for sixth last week, and now the Saints are fourth, one point ahead of the Patriots. Kansas City is sixth, up four spots.
Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and the Saints held Arizona to 247 yards total offense in a 31-7 win.
"Shades of 2009? That's the year the Saints won the Super Bowl," wrote voter Bob Glauber of Newsday. "It's also the last time they started the season 3-0."
The Dallas Cowboys were up two spots to 13th after a 31-7 win over St. Louis, and they were followed by Green Bay, Detroit, Atlanta, Tennessee, the New York Jets, San Diego and Carolina. The Jets jumped eight spots from No. 26.
Philadelphia dropped four spots to No. 21 after a second straight loss. Arizona is at No. 22, followed by the Rams, Buffalo, Cleveland, Washington, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, the New York Giants and Oakland.
The Browns jumped six spots from No. 31, which is now held by Tampa Bay. Jacksonville was again a unanimous choice at No. 32.
The next AP Pro32 power rankings will be released on Oct. 1.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org