Ravens crush Chiefs to set up clash with Steelers

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens powered their way past the Kansas City Chiefs with a 30-7 win in their wildcard playoff game on Sunday aided by three interceptions from Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel.

Baltimore led 10-7 at halftime but turned the screws after the break, helped by three turnovers, with two field goals and two touchdowns to secure a clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 15.

That matchup will feature two of the NFL's most bruising defenses. The AFC North rivals split their two games against each other during the regular season with Baltimore winning the first game in October while Pittsburgh triumphed in December.

"It's going to be like it always is - a big physical football game, a lot of fun to play in and a lot of fun to watch," said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw for 265 yard and two touchdowns.

Cassel had a tough time against the Ravens' aggressive defense as he threw three interceptions and managed a mere 70 passing yards, his lowest output since a 68-yard performance on September 13.

"This one hurts, it really does sting. I felt going into the game that we had a great chance to win, we had a great week of practice and it really came down to the second half and turnovers ... and it starts with me," Cassel told reporters.

The game began brightly for Kansas City, who went from worst to best in their division this season, with a superb 41-yard touchdown run from Jamaal Charles for a 7-3 lead.

But Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who has made the playoffs in each of his three years in Baltimore, found Ray Rice in the end zone with a nine-yard pass to grab the lead late in the second quarter.

From then on it was Ravens domination. They got a pair of 29-yard field goals from Billy Cundiff before Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin on a four-yard touchdown pass to round out the third-quarter scoring.

Tight end Todd Heap had a busy and effective day for the Ravens making 10 catches for 108 yards.

"I definitely wasn't expecting that but the way they were playing their coverages opened up the middle of the field," said Heap.

"We kept seeing them playing the same thing over and over again, and if it keeps working you keep going back to it and so we were able to take advantage," he said.

Willis McGahee's 25-yard run secured the victory with a little over four minutes to play.

"It was a really good team victory, they were a good team but we were able to keep it going and pop out of the other end," said Flacco.

Ravens safety Ed Reed played and made four tackles despite concerns over his younger brother, who has been missing since he was reported to have jumped in the Mississippi river as police tried to apprehend him on Friday.

Reed was presented with the game ball by his team mates after being part of yet another rock solid defense that forced five turnovers in the rout.

"They have just been team mates, like they are, just being another family, gathering round and giving me strength," said Reed.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)