crash and burn

1

Fail utterly, as in Dale crashed and burned three times before passing the bar exam. This idiom alludes to a car or airplane that has crashed and caught fire. [Slang; 1970s]

2

In skateboarding and other sports, be taken out of competition by a collision, accident, or fall, as in Although she was favored to win the downhill race, she crashed and burned on her first run. [Slang; 1980s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.