Dre Kirkpatrick was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for week 16.
Kirkpatrick intercepted two Peyton Manning passes to seal a 37-28 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. On his first interception, Kirkpatrick took it back 30 yards for a touchdown.
In his third-year in the NFL, Kirkpatrick has only made five starts. He has been in a reserve role for the Bengals, playing behind fellow first-round picks Leon Hall, Adam Jones and Terrence Newman.
"Dre has had a tough start to his career, and he's had to show some patience," Head Coach Marvin Lewis said. "He had some injuries and had trouble gaining a foothold. He came through against the Broncos in a big football game."
Kirkpatrick may see more playing time Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Wednesday, fellow defensive backs Reggie Nelson and Terrence Newman did not practice due to illness. Also rookie first-round pick, Darqueze Denard, was limited in practice due to a shin injury.
Kirkpatrick says he ready for the challenge of facing the talented Pittsburgh wide receivers.
"Everything is on the line right now," Kirkpatrick said. "Lat week was a playoff environment, and this week sure enough will be a playoff environment because we are also playing for a division championship."
The Bengals play the Steelers for the AFC North title Sunday at 8:30 p.m.