The 49ers opened in the pistol and found Vernon Davis for 20 yards on the very first play, but an illegal formation penalty nullified the big gain. That left them in a first-and-15 situation from their own 15. Frank Gore carried next for a short gain before an incomplete pass put San Francisco in a third and long they could not convert, forcing the punt.
The last thing the Niners wanted was to shoot themselves in the foot early on, but that's what they did. A receiver lined up over Davis, covering him up and making the formation illegal. A stupid mental mistake forced them to punt, and Jim Harbaugh cannot be happy about that.