LOS ANGELES -- Sean McVay wanted to beat his former team.
But the quarterback he helped develop did not cooperate.
Kirk Cousins connected with Ryan Grant on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:49 remaining to give the Washington Redskins a 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
McVay was a Redskins assistant coach in 2010 when he was hired by then-head coach Mike Shanahan. When Jay Gruden became Washington's head coach before the 2014 season, Gruden promoted McVay to offensive coordinator. McVay retained that position until he became Rams head coach before this season.
Cousins and McVay teamed up for a productive 2016 season. The Redskins were third in the NFL in yards per game, with 403.4 yards per game. Cousins threw for 4,917 yards, third most in the league, and Cousins got his first Pro Bowl invitation.
McVay said he sometimes knew what Cousins and Gruden were going to do, and when they were going to do it.
"I wouldn't say there was anything that surprised us," McVay said. "I've got a lot of respect for the Washington coaching staff, what they've done for me and I thought their defense did a nice job mixing it up."
When players or coaches in any sport are about to play against their former team, they always go with the "it's just another game" line (although when they write their post-career autobiographies, they will admit that, sure, the juices were flowing a bit more when playing ex-teammates).
McVay maintained that Sunday's game was nothing special.
"It was just like any other game," McVay said. "There are a lot of emotions involved, but once the game starts, it's just like any other football game."
This game was a loss for McVay, his first as an NFL head coach. Coaches tend to go with the "it's on me" line when their teams lose a game. McVay took that tact as the Rams look at a short window to get ready for their next game.
Los Angeles plays the San Francisco 49ers in an away game on Thursday.
"I've got to do a better job for our team as a whole," McVay said. "We really get a chance to see how we'll respond on a short week, so we don't have much time to feel sorry for ourselves about this game."