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

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