Geno Smith never was an option for the Hail Mary, said Todd Bowles.
The Jets coach admitted Sunday that Ryan Fitzpatrick's arm strength, or lack thereof, was the reason behind his decision to call a short pass over the middle -- at the New England 49 -- with a seven-point deficit, 14 seconds on the clock and no timeouts.
The play call resulted in a completion -- a 12-yarder to Eric Decker that put the ball at the Patriots' 37 with time running out. But Brandon Marshall's false-start penalty as the ball was spiked resulted in a 10-second runoff and the Patriots came away with a 30-23 win.
In his postgame interview, Bowles said he wanted the offense to get closer to the end zone before attempting the Hail Mary -- hence his decision to have Fitzpatrick throw a short pass over the middle.
And on Monday, Bowles had no regrets about his play-calling.
"For Fitzpatrick, it probably would have been deeper than that if he had gone back and scrambled and gone back and everything, but Geno was cold," Bowles said. "He was on the bench all game. It would have been unfair to put him in the game and ask him to throw one ball."
Did Fitzpatrick think he could have heaved a Hail Mary from the Patriots' 49?
"I think I max out at about 30 yards with my arm strength," he said, sarcastically during a conference call.
Then, he added with a laugh: "I'm glad you guys can't see my face right now."
So what is his optimum throwing distance?
"I think the closer you are the higher percentage you have," the Jets quarterback said. "The less you have to hold up the rush and potentially the firmer the throw can be depending on what you're calling. I would say the percentage probably goes up whether you're on the 50 and getting down to the 30, 35, 40, wherever it is."