SAN DIEGO, FEB. 1 -- "Who are you?" a woman seeking an autograph asked one of the Redskins in the team's hotel lobby this morning.

"Timmy," he said, softly.

"Timmy?" she cried. "Timmy Smith?"

He smiled and nodded, almost imperceptibly.

"Please sign this," said the woman, putting a Super Bowl XXII game program in front of him. "Please sign this." She searched deep in her purse for a pen. Timmy Smith was in no hurry. He was simply savoring the moment.

"I still kind of feel relaxed," he said, after signing his name and "No. 36." All about him in the crowded lobby, Redskins players stood around, quietly exulting with wives and other relatives and friends. Fans snapped photographs, collected autographs, offered congratulations.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," said Smith. "It'll probably hit me in Washington."

As if he needed any help remembering his record-setting Super Bowl performance, Smith will be reminded of it by friends and fans for some time to come. Already since the game, he had spoken to his mother, Ella, in Hobbs, N.M., four times.

"She was so excited for me and my teammates," said Smith, who is 5 feet 11, 216 pounds. "Especially for me because I've been out for two years and all of a sudden I'm bouncing back."

Indeed, Smith played just five games in his last two seasons at Texas Tech. First, he had torn knee ligaments and cartilage. His senior year he had a broken ankle, and needed a pin and plate to help him recover.

As a result, pro teams shied away from him, but for the Redskins he proved to be a gem of a fifth-round choice, the 117th player selected in last year's college draft.

Just before the Super Bowl started, running backs coach Don Breaux came up to Smith. "He told me that they were going to introduce George {Rogers} and start me," he said. "I was well-prepared. As long as you know the game plan, you're all right."

On the Counter-Trey, a play in which a run is faked to the left and the back follows a convoy of blockers to the right, Smith was set free for a second-period 58-yard touchdown run -- a big gainer that the Redskins felt inevitably would happen.

"When we were 10-0 down," said Paul Lanham, brought in in late November as special-teams consultant, "I happened to be standing by Russ Grimm. I said, 'It's still a long way to go yet.' He said, 'Coach, if we keep doing the Counter-Trey we'll break a long one. They're stunting on defense and we're going to hit it for a long one.' "

Shortly after that, Smith ran to daylight.

"I was hitting the hole pretty hard, whether I had room to go or not," said Smith. "The line was really working. It must have been doing something for a back to gain 200 yards."

Now the music to Smith's ears, besides the sounds from the earphones he had just removed, will always be the numbers he had run up on the field: 204 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns -- the rookie's first in the National Football League.

No runner in Super Bowl history had ever rushed 200 yards. The previous record was the 191 by the Raiders' Marcus Allen against the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.

What's more, the Broncos hadn't even allowed 100 yards to a runner all season, and here was Smith starting his first game and getting more than 200. Smith had managed only 126 yards in 29 carries all season, with a long run of 15 yards, in the regular season. But in two playoff games, he had 29 attempts for 138 yards, with a long run of 34 yards and a 4.8-yards per carry average. Yet all he wanted to do was share credit with his offensive line.

"I talked to them just about every time in the huddle," said Smith. "Trying to fire them up. 'We'll get 'em -- let's go right at 'em.' "

"Our offensive and defensive lines were stronger than theirs," said Lanham, who was about to drive home to Mission Viejo after what he described as "a tremendous year -- I couldn't be more pleased."

It was the way everyone felt as the Redskins prepared to head home.

Coach Joe Gibbs signed Redskins pennants, scraps of paper and the back of a Wheaties box with the Redskins as Super Bowl champion already on the front. A man hugged him. A woman asked him how he had celebrated the victory Sunday night and he replied, "Up in my room with my family."

"Wasn't that something," said Gibbs, all smiles.

Gibbs' father-in-law, Gaspar Escobar, from Pico Rivera, Calif., near Los Angeles, watched proudly. Speaking of his daughter, Pat, he said, "During football season, she's a football wife. But after the season, they enjoy life. They're good Christians. You know, their anniversary was Friday, the 29th. Their anniversary always comes up at Super Bowl time. Twenty-two years for Super Bowl XXII."

Like a great tide washing out, everybody headed for buses or limosines. Players, coaches and fans together.

And, just one of the crowd, Timmy Smith. How sweet the icing in the fourth quarter, when he scored his second touchdown, on a four-yard burst. "Same play," he said, pulling down his headphones, heading for the door, to home with his teammates, the undisputed champions.