Sports

CB Dre Kirkpatrick finally gets bigger role in injured Bengals secondary vs Steelers on Sunday

  • Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is pursued by Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker James Harrison (92) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is pursued by Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker James Harrison (92) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis watches from the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

    Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis watches from the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)  (The Associated Press)

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick finally gets his chance to make his mark in the NFL.

The Bengals are missing their top two cornerbacks, giving the first-round draft pick a chance to become a mainstay on one of the NFL's top defenses. Leon Hall is out with a torn Achilles tendon, and Terence Newman hurt his left knee during a 42-28 win over the Colts on Sunday.

Kirkpatrick knows Ben Roethlisberger will probably target him during their game in Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The Bengals (9-4) can clinch the AFC North if they beat the Steelers and second-place Baltimore loses at Detroit on Monday night.

Kirkpatrick has been used primarily on special teams this season, getting in for only 15 percent of the plays on defense.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org