For LeRoy Irvin, there was nothing particularly complicated about what he described last night as "the biggest play of our season."

That would have been Irvin's interception in the end zone of a tipped pass that went through the hands of wide receiver Art Monk and allowed the Los Angeles Rams to escape RFK Stadium with a 30-26 victory over the Washington Redskins.

It's been a tough year for Irvin, the eight-year veteran cornerback. He had been embroiled in an ugly contract dispute with the Rams for most of the season and was suspended for a game earlier in the month by Coach John Robinson. He regained his starting position only last week and last night he demonstrated why he has been a consistent Pro Bowl performer.

All of that controversy was forgotten in the joy of a jubilant Rams locker room last night. Irvin was even able to joke that he thought at one point the Redskins might have been interested in acquiring him, but "I'm glad it didn't happen. For right now, I'm just happy to be on the winning team tonight.

"On that last play, our defensive line just put great pressure on Doug {Williams}," he said. "I'm not even sure who tipped the ball. I was just in the right spot and I got the garbage."

Irvin, who was not at all shy about his skills, said he didn't know who got a game ball, but it wasn't him. "I don't need it. I got plenty of those back home," he said.

He also said he made it a point to go over to Williams after the game to sincerely congratulate him for his performance.

"I think they made the right move going to Doug {as a starter}," he said. "I like the guy, and I think he's a hell of a quarterback. I just told him, 'Good luck the rest of the season and I hope you kill everyone.' "

Irvin was one of many Rams heroes last night. And one of the more impressive performances was turned in by a young fellow who grew up literally in the shadow of RFK Stadium, in the 1500 block of H Street Northeast and went to school right across the street at Eastern High School.

That would be fifth-year linebacker Mike Wilcher, who was a man known mostly for being the player who replaced Lawrence Taylor as a starting defensive end at the University of North Carolina back in the early '80s.

He will also be remembered for a stunning play on the Redskins' first series, when he ran 35 yards with a fumble recovery for a touchdown that gave the Rams a 7-0 lead with 1:35 elapsed in the first quarter.

"Gary Jeter just beat his guy {former replacement player Darrick Brilz} and he stripped the ball," Wilcher said. "I don't know if the ball hit the ground, or even if I caught it. I just didn't even break stride. All I knew was I had the ball and there was nobody in front of me except a lot of end zone.

"There's no question it was a very big thrill for me. This is my hometown. I grew up here. And I had a lot of family and friends watching me in the stands. Yeah, I have to admit I've always been a Redskin fan. You can't help it, coming from D.C., but that's nothing you can think about when you have to play those guys. They look like any other team to me. And they looked real tough."

One man breathing a healthy sigh of relief in the Los Angeles dressing room was linebacker Kevin Greene, who made a bonehead play late in the third quarter that allowed the Redskins to keep a drive alive and get back in the football game.

On third and four, at their 26, the Redskins should have been forced to punt after Kelvin Bryant dropped a pass, but Greene was called for a personal foul for taking a swing at Redskins center Raleigh McKenzie. Given that reprieve, the Redskins marched down the field and scored on a five-yard touchdown pass to Art Monk that pulled them to within 30-26.

"It was a very dumb play on my part," Greene said. "But I think I was justified.

"The play was over and this guy from Washington {McKenzie} just blasted Jeter and there was absolutely no reason for it. We may be struggling this year, but the Rams don't take that stuff.

"I jacked that dude in the face, you're damn right I did. You can't have anybody doing things like that. I just hit him on the side of the head and the referee saw it. But what he did to Jeter was not football.

"I lost my head definitely and it could have been a very big play for them. And if somebody ever did that again, I would do the same thing. You have to protect your teammates. And that's all I did."