go down like ninepins

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Related to go down like ninepins: falling like ninepins

go down/fall like ninepins

  (British old-fashioned)
to be injured, or to fail in large numbers
Usage notes: Ninepins is a game in which you try to make bottle-shaped objects fall by rolling a ball at them.
(usually in continuous tenses) I've never seen so many players injured. They were going down like ninepins.
See also: down, like