to drop the ball

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

See also: Ball

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in periodicals archive ?
Permanent Secretary to the President Mr Carter Morupisi has appealed to public employees not to drop the ball in securing the stability of the nation.
The Ryder Cup vice captain, of Aberdeen, then had to drop the ball next to the punter.
Dean blew another chance for Widnes with Charnley just doing enough to force the second-rower to drop the ball over the line after a scintillating run.
He has to drop the ball within those two club lengths - which he did.
"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
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 seemed to have Martin Smith's 35-yard effort covered, only to drop the ball over his own goal-line.
The force of the impact caused Hunter to drop the ball in the seats.
A spokesman for the TV show said: ``We plan to drop the ball into Grand Canyon next month.
"It's hard to drop the ball in the middle of a project.
Mark Gallagher's speculative cross from the left carried little threat but O'Connor somehow managed to drop the ball and Frankie Carroll quickly accepted the gift.
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).