IDIOMS

second gear

(idiomatic, figuratively) Mediocre, sluggish performance.

Example: The second lowest gearing available from a gearbox.
2011 March 2, Chris Whyatt, “Arsenal 5 - 0 Leyton Orient”[1], BBC:
  The hosts remained in second gear after the break although Orient, with impressive Daniels a constant outlet down the right, did at least show a sense of adventure.