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NFL tabs Dre Kirkpatrick AFC Defensive Player of the Week

Dre Kirkpatrick was in a reserve role for the Denver game, behind veteran starters Leon Hall and Terence Newman, but he made a bigger impact than both of them.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick today was named by the NFL as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 16.

Kirkpatrick intercepted two Peyton Manning passes in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 37-28 Bengals win over Denver. He took the first one 30 yards for a touchdown with 2:41 to play, giving Cincinnati a two-score lead at 37-28. With 1:07 to play, and Denver with a first down at the Bengals 19-yard line, Kirkpatrick grabbed a pass intended for Demaryius Thomas at the five, sealing the victory.

Kirkpatrick also led the Bengals for the game with two special teams tackles.

Kirkpatrick is a third-year NFL player, drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the Bengals in 2012. He has played in 34 games but has made only five starts. He was in a reserve role for the Denver game, behind veteran starters Leon Hall and Terence Newman.

"Dre has had a tough start to his career, and he’s had to show some patience," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "He had some injuries and had trouble gaining a foothold. But this season, he’s made the best of every opportunity he’s had. He has excelled on special teams, he’s excelled now on defense when he gets chances, and he’s just got to keep growing. He came through against the Broncos in a big football game."

Kirkpatrick is the second Bengal this season to win an NFL weekly or monthly award. Rookie HB Jeremy Hill won the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for his Week 15 performance at Cleveland. The last Bengal to win the weekly defensive award was LB Vontaze Burfict in Week 11 of 2013 vs. Cleveland.