ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Brian Mitchell of the Washington Redskins won the debate yesterday.
"Their kick returner [Vernon Turner] was saying he was the best. I didn't tell him I'm the best. I don't have to say it. I feel if you have to say it, you're not. That made me want to show him he's not the best. I had some good returns, and I tried to be on every tackle," he said.
Mitchell wound up returning three punts for 66 yards and two kickoffs for 60 yards for 126 yards in the game. He went in leading the conference in punt returns, and Turner was eighth. Turner returned three punts for 18 yards and four kickoffs for 44 yards.
Mitchell, though, said Turner's comments were just part of football.
"I talk a lot of stuff during the game, so I understand it," Mitchell said. "When he went out of bounds [in the fourth quarter after a 4-yard gain], I told him: 'That's very stupid. If you were the best, you wouldn't make mistakes like that.' I think today we really showed we are the best. I think I'm one of the best talkers in the world. I don't let things rattle me."
Special teams coach Wayne Sevier, who had been worried about Mitchell's fumbling, said Mitchell got the green light before the game not to fair catch and "go for the throat." Mitchell called for one fair catch.
Mitchell said: "They gave me a chance to be myself. It may be stupid, but I hate to fair catch. [Former Redskin] Mike Nelms used to catch them at any time, and I think I'm just like he is. I want to catch and try and score. I wasn't thinking about fumbling, because for weeks I've been holding onto the ball right.
"I think now I'm back into my old self. You're going to see a lot of big returns. I have a burning desire to bring something back to the house [touchdown] before the season is over," he said.
* When Rams quarterback Jim Everett was asked if the season was a nightmare, he said: "It's all reality. Hopefully, we can all face it and learn from it in the future, whoever's here."
Asked whether he expected a lot of changes in the off-season, he said: "After consecutive seasons like we've had, it's only logical there would be changes. I can't say what it is, if it's players, coaches, whatever."
* Running back Ricky Ervins, who grew up in Pasadena and played at Southern Cal, had something of a homecoming in his first game at Anaheim Stadium. He had 16 relatives at the game and gave the ball with which he scored a touchdown to his 5-year-old nephew, Brandon.
"I promised him I'd score one for him three weeks ago," he said with a smile.
* Wide receiver Ricky Sanders, who is trailing Art Monk and Gary Clark in catches this year, caught a touchdown pass for the third week in a row. He has 39 catches; Monk has 57 and Clark 56.
But Sanders said he doesn't mind that the other two receivers are ahead of him.
"I'm pretty happy as long as we're winning," he said. He said he'd even punt if it would help the team win.
* Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was escorted off the sidelines at Anaheim Stadium during the game.
Tyson said his friend, Rams cornerback Todd Lyght, had invited him to the game. Los Angeles sportscaster Jim Hill helped Tyson get seats in the press box, but the fighter ended up on the field, chatting with Lyght until security guards asked him to leave, which he did without incident.
* The Rams' fans are unhappy. They were 12,794 no-shows, and, the end of the game, most of the fans in the stands were rooting for the Redskins.
Among the signs in the stadium were: "Please Georgia, sell the team," "Sell the team" and "All we want for Christmas is a new front office."
Georgia is owner Georgia Frontiere, who was left the team by her late husband, ex-Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom.
* Rams coach John Robinson, who's likely to lose his job after the season, said, "Obviously, a team with a record like ours and going through what we're going through does not make those plays [like the Redskins did] and therein lies the game.
"We just can't right now put together a team to play a team like that. We play for a while, but it gets away from us," he added.