Frank Gore was Vernon Davis' secret footwork coach

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Frank Gore not only helped seal the 49ers' 23-10 win with a 39-yard run, he also played a behind-the-scenes role in preparing Vernon Davis for a go-ahead touchdown catch.

Gore threw an array of passes to Davis on the side in practice last week, and Davis credited those sessions for his ability to keep his feet inbound in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown catch 5 seconds before halftime.

"I knew it was legit. Me and Frank worked on it with 20 to 30 passes in practice," said Davis, whose touchdown was granted upon a replay review for a 13-10 over the host Carolina Panthers.

Said Gore: "We'd be on the sideline when the defense was practicing. I'd say, 'You want to be great. Let's do this.' Then I'd make crazy throws — low, high, one-hand (catches), behind him. We're just trying to get better."

Gore actually finished with more receiving yards than Davis, as the 49ers' running back made an 8-yard catch on the game's first series.

Of Gore's 84 rushing yards, 39 came on a third-and-1 run to spark a fourth-quarter drive that took eight minutes off the clock and led to an insurance field goal. "I've never seen anybody pop big runs like Frank Gore does when there's 9, 10, 11 men in the box," coach Jim Harbaugh said.

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