Crawl into their shells - Idioms by The Free Dictionary
crawl into (one's) shell (redirected from crawl into their shells)
crawl into (one's) shell
To retreat into one's mind or otherwise isolate oneself so as to avoid undesirable thoughts, situations, or interactions with people. After getting mugged, I crawled into my shell and didn't speak to anyone for nearly a week. I'm not good around large groups of people; I usually just crawl into my shell and wait until I can be alone. Don't crawl into your shell because you don't want an argument—talk to me and let's discuss the problem!
References in periodicals archive
But unlike in previous weeks, it was not the signal for Sunderland to crawl into their shells
and after weathering some Villa pressure they came on strong again.
If they crawl into their shells
and play conservatively, they will get hammered by the South Africans, the media, the pundits and the public alike, because we all want to see a vibrant and punchy England side going at it hammer and tongs with the opposition.
They didn't want to crawl into their shells
and they didn't want to look silly, but this is Muralitharan's home turf and he made sure he played the tune for his excitable fans.