to drop the ball

to fail to perform as expected; to fail to live up to a responsibility.

See also: Ball

References in periodicals archive ?
He took an unplayable ball drop, so he had two club lengths from where the ball lay' he has to drop the ball within those two club lengths
The governor has thrown a touchdown pass,'' he said, ``and the Legislature is about to drop the ball.
First and foremost, Player A had no right merely to drop the ball out sideways, directly across from where the ball came to rest in the lateral water hazard.
He was preparing to play again when playing partner Billy Andrade asked him if he was sure he did not have to drop the ball a second time.
Yet the Wizards should have taken an early lead, only for centre Shane McIntosh to drop the ball with the line at his mercy.
had recovered and organized inside the penalty box, Zinho chose to retreat and again to drop the ball back - this time to Roberto Carlos, a wide defender (#9).
By being literally in the middle of the supply chain, we can't ever afford to drop the ball.
If you want to win a match you can't afford to drop the ball like we did so many times.
But Painter caught the United defence asleep and dispossessed Bradley to drop the ball on to the head of Farrell to score the winner in the last few seconds.
He knows I don't intend to drop the ball, and he said, `I'll keep throwing to you,' '' Williams said.