Josh McCown barely completed half of his passes, threw two interceptions and was sacked six times by the Lions on Sunday, but when the final gun sounded in a 34-17 setback, his teammates couldn’t wait to offer protection.

Without the benefit of a credible ground game, McCown was battered by a relentless pass rush that registered 14 quarterback hits and chased him all over Ford Field.

“The guy’s tough as nails,’’ said Bucs center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who caused a second-quarter turnover when his snap to McCown never got off the artificial turf for a fumble at the Tampa Bay 32-yard line. “Josh took some big shots today, trying to make a play, and he never complained ... not once.’’

Lions defensive tackle Nadamukong Suh, who posted six tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and three QB hits, was a dynamic ringleader up front as Detroit kept McCown under siege.

“He’s a great quarterback,’’ said Suh, who drew a roughing-the-passer flag late in the opening half. “I’ve been able to see him a handful of times and I definitely respect him. I admire him.’’